Sunday, 22 May 2011

Former WEC matchmaker Sean Shelby now handling matchmaking in Strikeforce

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

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"Business as usual" may still be the mantra on the surface of Zuffa's acquisition of Strikeforce in March, but behind the scenes it's been anything but, and the new sister organization of the UFC now has a number of new faces and a new title for their former CEO.

Without any major announcement, Scott Coker's title has been changed from Strikeforce President and CEO to Strikeforce Executive Vice President and General Manager. The title change for Coker was listed on the agenda for this week's Fighter Summit in Las Vegas, and while there hasn't been any word on whether his new title means a diminished capacity in control of Strikeforce, he's at least still got his position.

According to a report from MMAWeekly.com, former WEC matchmaker-turned-UFC-employee Sean Shelby has now taken over the reins of Strikeforce as their new matchmaker, and former Strikeforce matchmakers Rich Chou and Bob Cook have been released from their duties.

Cook is involved with a number of fighters through both the American Kickboxing Academy and as part of Zinkin Entertainment, which represents a number of top fighters in the sport including Forrest Griffin, Cain Velasquez, and Jon Fitch.

As for Chou, he has been a key component to a number of organizations in the past, including Rumble at the Rock in Hawaii and the now-defunct EliteXC before joining Strikeforce.

Shelby was the main WEC matchmaker before the UFC merged the smaller organization in, and he had been helping Joe Silva in booking fights in the smaller weight classes prior to this new assignment.

Link to Original Source Article

Penick's Analysis: I'm not entirely surprised by the move. Zuffa was going to plug their people into roles like this with the merger, and with a number of redundant roles in a fight company, they were always going to go with those they were familiar with over the new staff. Chou and Cook really did do a great job in putting fights together in Strikeforce, and the fights set up in the organization were always their strongest suit. But Shelby is an excellent matchmaker in his own right, and will do a great job running that part of the organization going forward.

Source: http://www.mmatorch.com/artman2/publish/Affliction2/article_9310.shtml

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